The Commission continued to implement the cultural and organisational priorities identified in its strategic plan for 2011–14 to establish an organisation that is respected by its clients, with people, policies, procedures and systems that support its business priorities.
The Commission's focus in 2013–14 was on consolidating its strategic human resource, ICT and financial reporting arrangements in line with new legislative requirements and the move of some functions to the Shared Services Centre.
During the year, the Commission:
- reviewed its policies and procedures in preparation for the commencement of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 on 1 July 2014
- transitioned its financial systems and human resource processing and systems to the Shared Services Centre
- conducted a business impact analysis of critical business functions and established appropriate response strategies
- improved its financial reporting processes
- commenced a significant workforce planning project to ensure its future workforce needs are met
- delivered programs as part of the Reconciliation Action Plan and started working on the next iteration of the plan.
Corporate governance framework
The Commission's outcome and anticipated use of resources are set out in its Portfolio Budget Statements 2013–14 and strategic plan for 2011–14. Actions to achieve the Commission's outcome are detailed in group business plans and individual performance agreements, which provide the framework for staff compliance and accountability.
The Commission's corporate governance framework (Figure 2) brings together all the components necessary to manage and monitor the achievement of the Commission's outcome.
Figure 2: Corporate governance framework, 2013–14
The Executive establishes the directions and work program of the Commission and directs the agenda for the Commission Management Committee. The Executive approves business plans and budgets and determines senior staffing matters. It meets as a group monthly.
Three advisory committees support the Executive in its management and accountability role.
Commission Management Committee
The Commission Management Committee is chaired by the Commissioner and comprises the Executive and group managers. The committee meets fortnightly and is the forum for scoping strategic challenges and direction and for providing updates on Commission activities. It also monitors the Commission's progress against its strategic priorities.
Audit and Risk Management Committee
The Audit and Risk Management Committee was established in accordance with the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997and its responsibilities are detailed in the audit charter. The committee met four times in 2013–14.
Workplace Relations/Health and Safety Committee
As agreed with employees and other workers early in 2013–14, the Workplace Relations Committee and the Work Health and Safety Committee have been merged to form the Workplace Relations/Health and Safety Committee.
The new committee will facilitate the participation of the Commission's employees in the decision-making process on matters relating to workplace issues that may affect them, including work health and safety issues.
The committee also has primary responsibility for monitoring the implementation of the Commission's enterprise agreement and assisting the Commission to develop, implement and review measures designed to protect the health and safety at work of the Commission's workers and visitors.
In accordance with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, the committee meets at least once every three months. Further information on work health and safety matters is provided in Appendix C.
The Commission's risk management framework is reviewed each year and consists of:
- a risk management statement from the Commissioner, which is published on the Commission's website
- a risk management policy
- a risk assessment handbook.
The aims of the Commission's risk management policy are to:
- develop a Commission-wide understanding of risk management
- create an environment where all employees assume responsibility for managing risk
- ensure that relevant risks are considered in decision-making processes
- ensure that significant risks faced by the Commission are identified and understood
- ensure that material risks are appropriately monitored through documented review processes and that key mitigating actions are reported to management on a regular basis.
Risk management is integrated into the business planning activities of the Commission. The systematic application of risk management supports good decision-making, enables sound judgements and promotes the cost-effective use of resources throughout the Commission.
During 2013–14, the Commission conducted a review of its 2012–13 risk analysis to identify any new risks to achieving its outcome and priorities. The review confirmed that the Commission-wide risks relate to the potential damage to the Commission's reputation if:
- the quality of the Commission's work does not meet its clients' and stakeholders' expectations
- the capability and capacity of the Commission (both financial and staffing) fail to meet the needs and demands of its clients and stakeholders
- the Commission's capacity and capability to remain relevant, to anticipate the future needs of the APS and to drive change in the APS is not recognised by its clients and stakeholders
- the Commission's clients and stakeholders perceive that the Commission does not demonstrate the best practice it advocates for the APS.
During 2013–14, strategies to mitigate these risks were developed and implemented and are monitored by the Commission's Audit and Risk Management Committee.
The Commission continued to participate in Comcover's annual risk management benchmarking survey. In 2013–14, the Commission received a discount of 8.19% on its Comcover insurance premium for 2014–15.
The Commission had in place a number of plans in 2013–14 to implement its strategic priorities, develop its workforce, provide fraud control and ensure business continuity.
The Commission's strategic priorities for 2013–14 were:
- One APS—build a unified, citizen-centric APS by leading APS organisational and human capital strategies
- APS agencies—lead APS agencies' adoption of best human capital practices and assure agencies' organisational capability
- APS leaders—develop outstanding leaders and shape a cohesive leadership network
- APS values—instil and enliven APS ethics and values to inspire excellence
- APSC capability—invest in and grow the Commission's capability to deliver our expanded role.
These priorities are reflected in specific objectives and deliverables under the Commission's programs and group business planning. All involve a whole-of-Commission approach.
The Commission's workforce plan guides the development and maintenance of a skilled, capable and diverse workforce that is valued and engaged. It identifies strategies to ensure that the Commission's workforce is directly linked to the Commission's future directions and priorities. In 2013–14, work began on updating the Commission's workforce plan to include an expanded and integrated approach to all aspects of workforce planning.
Fraud control plan
The Commission's fraud control plan covers the 2013–15 period and establishes the framework for detecting, reporting on and investigating fraud within the Commission. The plan also outlines ongoing fraud awareness steps to ensure that staff are aware of their responsibilities.
Business continuity plan
The Commission's business continuity plan details the steps to be taken in the event of a disruption to business operations.
The plan's objectives are to maintain the continuity of essential services as far as is practicable and to minimise the impact of any disruption to the availability of services. The plan provides practical assistance and guidance to staff on how to ensure that the Commission is able to resume normal business operations following a disaster.
The Commission aims to minimise the use of non-renewable resources. Ongoing activities include the use of recycled paper products for most work activities, maximising the benefits from energy-saving devices, and undertaking purchasing with energy efficiency in mind. Appendix F provides more detail on the Commission's environmental performance.
The Commission continues to improve its online presence by providing timely and accurate information about initiatives, news and events in a usable and accessible format. The Commission continues to maximise the capabilities of the website through better management of the preparation and distribution of publications, wider use of alert services and automated (just-in-time) release of content.
During 2013–14, the Commission delivered a range of projects across the website, including development of the State of the Service Exchange website. The Exchange website provides a useful reference point for people who are interested in APS-wide human capital trends and statistics. Copies of the State of the Service reports, the APS Statistical Bulletin and other human capital reports are provided on the site. Visitors to the Exchange are encouraged to subscribe for regular updates or comment on the APS reform process.
Other web-based activities involved promotional campaigns for the APS Indigenous Pathways to Employment Program and the APS employee census, as well as reviews of the effectiveness of the merit, ethics, and learning and development facilities.
Electronic document and records management system
The Commission continued a range of initiatives to encourage high usage of its electronic document and records management system to meet the National Archives Digital Transition Policy. During the year, the Commission conducted an internal audit to identify the extent of, and reasons for, staff not using the system. The audit outcomes were used to develop a range of education and information initiatives, including the re-establishment of a champion's network. In April 2014, the Commission upgraded the system to improve search functionality and general reliability—two key issues that were identified in the audit process.
Compliance and accountability
Every six months, the Commission conducts a review of its compliance with the financial management and accountability framework. The results of the 2013–14 reviews confirmed that the Commission's internal control environment is operating effectively.
The Commission has an ongoing process of reviewing its human resource policies to ensure that they are consistent with better practice and contemporary human resource management principles.
The Commission supports a culture of strong commitment to the APS Values and has mechanisms in place to ensure that the APS Values are reflected in its day-to-day work. For example:
- A set of action items are identified in the Commission's strategic plan that support the embedding of the APS Values in ‘the way we do things around here’. These actions cascade down from business plans to individual performance agreements.
- The Commission's performance management framework requires employees to demonstrate their commitment to the APS Values. Managers are required to provide feedback to employees on their performance against both business outcomes and adherence to the APS Values and Code of Conduct.
- The Commission has developed a set of leadership behaviours for senior staff in consultation with its employees. The Executive and Senior Executive Service (SES) employees of the Commission are held to account against these behaviours, which include being role models of the APS Values.
- The Commission's orientation and induction package for new staff includes information on the APS Values and Code of Conduct and the Commission's expectations of employees.
During 2013–14, the Commission's internal audit function was undertaken by Ernst & Young.
A recommendation follow-up review and compliance checks on human resource data analytics were completed. The Commission is implementing the recommendations it accepted.
There were no reports into the operations of the Commission by the Auditor-General, a parliamentary committee, the Commonwealth Ombudsman or the Australian Information Commissioner in 2013–14. Reports of general application are considered by the Commission's Audit and Risk Management Committee.
There were no judicial decisions or decisions of administrative tribunals in 2013–14 that had a significant impact on the operations of the Commission.
The Commission's approach to people management is to support and develop individuals in an environment that allows them to work to their full potential.
The Commission's workforce decreased by 6.25% in 2013–14 to 240 employees, excluding employees engaged on an irregular or intermittent basis. The Commission's workforce is primarily (89.58%) based in Canberra.
The Commission continues to have a predominantly female (71%), full-time (87%) workforce employed on an ongoing basis (92%). Female employees also form the greater part of the part-time workforce (90%). The total part-time workforce decreased by 6% from 2012–13.
Other notable staffing statistics include:
- 6% of employees identify as Indigenous Australians
- 5% of employees have identified themselves as having a disability
- 9% of employees have identified that English is not their first language, or that they are bilingual in English and another language
- 46% of employees are Executive Level (EL) employees, which is a decrease from 2012–13 (51%).
More detailed information about the Commission's workforce is set out in Appendix G.
The Commission has continued to focus on succession planning in light of the fact that 29.8% of current ongoing employees may elect to retire either now or within the next five years. Forty-five per cent of ongoing Commission employees are ‘mature-age workers’ (that is, over 45) and the majority of potential retirees are at the EL classification. This staffing profile reflects the experience of the Commission's employees—41% of ongoing employees have more than 10 years' experience in the APS.
The average use of personal leave (sick and carer's leave) is 9.6 days per employee per year. The peaks of personal leave use coincide with the winter months and the transition between summer and autumn.
The Commission's leave management policy ensures that employees have a safe, healthy and productive workplace. This includes ensuring that employees have adequate opportunity to achieve a good level of work–life balance and that the Commission achieves its program of work.
People management policies
The Commission undertook to review and revise its people management policies, procedures, systems and documentation in preparation for the commencement of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 on 1 July 2014. The Commission continues to monitor and evaluate each policy in accordance with its commitment to continuous improvement.
The Commission has a workforce diversity program, including you, that works in conjunction with its Indigenous employment strategy, creating paths. The Commission's commitment to recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce is evidenced by the representation levels of Indigenous Australians and employees with a disability. The level of representation of these groups in the Commission continues to be above the broader APS representation level.
The Commission continues to recruit entry-level Indigenous employees through the APS Indigenous Pathways to Employment Program, support employees to participate in the Jawun secondment program, and actively engage an Indigenous Champion at SES Band 2 level.
As part of the recruitment process at the Commission, the RecruitAbility scheme is applied to all vacancies. The Commission is also piloting the Australian Network on Disability's Reasonable Adjustment Passport, which is an initiative designed to assist employees with disability. The Deputy Australian Public Service Commissioner has been appointed as the Commission's Disability Champion.
Reconciliation Action Plan
The Commission recognises that, as a central agency involved in the development of employees, leaders and the culture of the APS, it is vital that we take a leadership role in reconciliation with Indigenous Australians. The Commission's Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) is an important part of this, as it is about building strong relationships and enhanced respect between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians—turning our good intentions into real actions.
This is the last year of the Commission's 2012–14 RAP, and a working group is currently in consultation with their colleagues to develop a new RAP.
Some highlights of the year were:
- seeing the RAP working group grow to 16 enthusiastic members
- raising more than $900 to assist Indigenous young people to meet court, rehabilitation program, educational and other commitments when government assistance is not available
- continued support for the popular NAIDOC Week touch football competition
- hosting a lunch with Aunty Matilda House, Ngambri-Ngunnuwal Elder.
I was privileged to be able to attend the lunch with Matilda House at Tuggeranong Hill. She is an amazing, inspirational woman. I have been left with a new sense of pride in the history of Canberra that extends well beyond the centenary celebrations; it has certainly given me a more fulsome understanding of the underlying meaning of our acknowledgement of country!
Heather Coates, Remuneration Tribunal
Workplace giving program
The aim of the Commission's workplace giving program is to provide a simple and convenient way to help as many employees as possible to support their preferred charity or non-profit group by enabling them to make donations via the payroll system.
The workplace giving program complements the efforts of the Social Club, which supports and organises one-off fundraising activities for various local charities and community organisations.
The Commission's remuneration framework and terms and conditions of employment consist of an enterprise agreement for non-SES staff and section 24(1) determinations under the Public Service Act 1999 for SES staff.
The enterprise agreement negotiated in 2011 will nominally expire on 30 June 2014. The Commission has agreed to bargain for a new enterprise agreement. SES salaries are reviewed annually.
The salary ranges for the Commission's classification levels are set out in Table 12. No performance pay provisions were in place for employees.
|Classification||2011–12 ($'000)||2012–13 ($'000)||2013–14 ($'000)|
The Commission's annual performance appraisal scheme directly links regular reviews of individual performance with incremental increases in salary. The scheme provides a structured way for an employee and their manager to review past performance and develop a future work program in line with the Commission's strategic objectives. The focus of the scheme is on development and support and, where necessary, management of poor performance.
Consideration of capabilities and performance at an organisational level by the leadership group ensures a fair and objective appraisal scheme.
Health and wellbeing
Information about the Commission's health and wellbeing program is contained in the report on work health and safety in Appendix C.
Australia Day awards
The Commission formally recognises exceptional performance through the annual Australia Day awards. The awards provide an opportunity to acknowledge and reward exceptional levels of sustained commitment, achievement and contribution to the work of the Commission.
The awards celebrate the achievements of teams and individuals who provide high-quality service to external or internal clients; strategic leadership, including as a member of a team; or a contribution of significant ideas, methods, technology, processes or knowledge. At the 2014 Australia Day award ceremony, one team and three individuals received awards for their exceptional contribution to the Commission over the past year.
2014 Australia Day award recipients
Team award—Capability Review Team
The Capability Review Team received an award for their outstanding efforts and ongoing commitment to the capability review program. Of the 19 reviews completed at January 2014, 11 were finalised during 2013, and 14 agency reports have been published. The reviews are conducted in partnership with agencies and are led by three independent experts with extensive public and private sector experience. The senior reviewers are supported throughout the review process by a small team of Commission staff and a secondee from the agency being reviewed.
Members of the Capability Review Team with their Australia Day award, January 2014. Left to right: Nicole Williams, Erin Murphy, Luke McAlary, Michelle Rooney, Holly Weston and Matthew Mulrine.
Individual award—Alana Walsh
Alana received an award for her significant contribution and commitment to progressing the Commission's diversity agenda. She has provided quality support to the Diversity Council, worked on a range of projects and activities, and taken on a number of additional tasks and priority projects across the team (and the broader group).
Alana Walsh with her Australia Day award, January 2014.
Individual award—Thushanthee Wickramasekera
Thushanthee received an award for her extraordinary efforts in designing and managing a range of Commission events. Her careful attention to detail and planning have ensured a quality experience for event attendees.
Liz Quinn (left) with Australia Day award recipient Thushanthee Wickramasekera, January 2014.
Individual award—Clare Kelly
Clare Kelly received an award for outstanding client service to internal and external clients.
Information and communications technology
In previous years, the Commission's ICT infrastructure services were provided under a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR). Following machinery of government changes in September 2013, which established the Department of Education and the Department of Employment out of the former DEEWR, the secretaries of those departments agreed to create a Shared Services Centre to deliver corporate and ICT services to both departments, as well as other government agencies, including the Commission. The Shared Services Centre now provides ICT and other corporate services to the Commission.
The Commission's major ICT initiatives during 2013–14 included:
- implementation of a new ICT system to support the panel services function—the system supports electronic advertising of panel opportunities as well as electronic submission of responses and evaluation workflows
- enhancements to the APSjobs redeployment register to support new government policy
- replacement of the majority of five-year-old desktop computers to improve computer speed and reliability for staff
- implementation of a new videoconferencing system in the Sydney office to improve communication with the national office and other state offices
- upgrade of the electronic document and records management system to improve reliability and provide content-based searching.
This section provides a summary of the Commission's financial performance during 2013–14. Further information is available in Part 4, which includes the independent auditor's report and the Commission's audited financial statements for the year ended 30 June 2014.
The Commission's departmental activities involve the use of assets, liabilities, income and expenses controlled or incurred by the Commission in its own right.
The Commission's total income for 2013–14 was $48.0 million. Appropriation from government accounted for 46%, and sales of goods and services for 54%. Table 13 details the Commission's income since 2011–12. Table 14 details the Commission's income sources by percentage since 2011–12.
|Appropriation from government||46.2||44.4||45.8|
|Sales of goods and services||53.7||55.5||54.1|
|Other income (gains from sale of assets and resources received free of charge)||0.1||0.1||0.1|
Appropriation funding decreased from $23.2 million in 2012–13 to $22.0 million in 2013–14, mainly due to the termination of the APS reform funding.
Table 15 shows the non-appropriation income, by source, that the Commission received from the sale of goods and rendering of services in 2012–13 and 2013–14.
Table 16 details the percentage of non-appropriation income, by source, that the Commission received from sales of goods and services in 2012–13 and 2013–14.
|Source||2012–13 estimate||2012–13 actual
|Better practice and evaluation||1.2||1.2||1.4||1.3|
|Source||2012–13 (%)||2013–14 (%)|
|Better practice and evaluation||4||5|
Income from development programs amounted to $15.5 million in 2013–14 ($17.2 million in 2012–13) and made up 32% (33% in 2012–13) of the Commission's total income from all sources. Income from this source decreased due to a reduction in customer demand for training and development activities. The relative share of total income remained constant as appropriation funding from government also reduced.
The majority of this income is earned in an open market, where agencies have a choice about where they source their services and the level of services required. As demand can be unpredictable, the Commission devotes considerable effort to estimating income and expenditure and to monitoring its financial performance during the year.
In 2013–14, the third year of the five-year funding agreements, the Commission received payments from 56 (55 in 2012–13) Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 agencies and Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 bodies to support the APS reform activities conducted by the Commission. In 2013–14, the funding totalled $4.7 million ($4.8 million in 2012–13) or 30% (27% in 2012–13) of development program income.
The Commission's operating result for 2013–14 was a deficit of $0.4 million (surplus of $0.4 million in 2012–13). This deficit is due to the impact of net cash funding for the departmental capital budget, where depreciation and amortisation expenses are no longer funded by a revenue appropriation. Excluding the factor of the net cash funding arrangement, the Commission delivered an operating surplus of $0.3 million despite the challenging financial environment. The $0.3 million surplus excludes asset revaluation movements, which are recorded as other comprehensive income.
The Commission achieved this better-than-budgeted result through prudently managing its financial resources and establishing a long-term forecast outlook, which will also position the organisation to meet tighter government budgetary requirement in future years.
The Commission's administered activities involve the management or oversight by the Commission, on behalf of the government, of items controlled or incurred by the government.
The Commission's only administered program is facilitating the payment of parliamentarians' and judicial office holders' remuneration, allowances and entitlements. The Commission receives special appropriations for the program, and the Department of the Senate, the Department of the House of Representatives and the Attorney-General's Department make all payments.
Payments for the year amounted to $60.7 million ($59.3 million in 2012–13). Payments made are reported in note 20d of the Commission's financial statements in Part 4.
The Commission manages non-financial assets with a gross value of $6.9 million ($9.4 million in 2012–13). The reduction in asset gross value is predominantly a result of the asset revaluation conducted in June 2014, where accumulation depreciation was written back to asset gross value. There is no significant change in the underlying net book value of the Commission's non-financial assets. These assets are managed by groups to meet their business needs.
The Commission conducts annual reviews of its capital budget and plan. A four-year capital investment plan is developed from which the Commission manages its future asset purchases and disposals. All assets owned by the Commission, including any information technology assets, are subject to an annual stocktake to verify the accuracy of asset records. Assets are depreciated at rates applicable for each asset class, as verified by the Australian National Audit Office.
The Commission's purchasing is undertaken in accordance with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules. Further guidance is provided to staff through the Commission's purchasing guide and the Chief Executive's Instructions.
The Commission has also established a framework for managing the risks inherent in procurement activities and has operational guidelines to support staff in assessing the risks associated with their projects.
The Commission published its annual procurement plan on the AusTender website to facilitate early procurement planning for 2013–14.
The Commission engages consultancy services in circumstances when particular expertise is not available internally or when independent advice is required. During 2013–14, the Commission entered into 34 (42 in 2012–13) new consultancy contracts, involving total actual expenditure of $0.5 million ($0.9 million in 2012–13). In addition, 17 ongoing consultancy contracts were active during 2013–14, involving total actual expenditure of $0.4 million (10 involving $0.5 million in 2012–13).
Information on the value of contracts and consultancies for 2013–14 is available through the AusTender website (www.tenders.gov.au).
Table 17 details expenditure on consultancy contracts between 2011–12 and 2013–14.
|Year||Number of new consultancies let||Number of ongoing consultancy contracts that were active||Total actual expenditure on new consultancy contracts
|Total actual expenditure on ongoing consultancy contracts that were active
|Total actual expenditure on consultancy contracts
The Commission's standard-form contracts for services and consultancies provide for access by the Auditor-General.
The Commissioner may direct that contract details are not to be reported on the AusTender website if they would be subject to an exemption under the Freedom of Information Act 1982, and the Commissioner considers that the information is genuinely sensitive and harm is likely to be caused by its disclosure. The Commission did not issue any exemptions during 2013–14.
The Commission did not administer any grant programs in 2013–14.
Outlook for 2014–15
The Commission will introduce new strategic priorities in 2014–15. While many of the overarching themes in the current set of priorities remain relevant, it is time to update them to acknowledge progress and the rapidly changing external environment.
The Commission's departmental appropriation revenue will decrease from $22.0 million in 2013–14 to $21.7 million in 2014–15, mainly due to the increase in the government efficiency dividend and various budget savings measures.
Departmental fee-for-service revenue is projected to be $3.5 million (14%) lower in 2014–15 than in 2013–14. This significant reduction is in anticipation of lower demand for the Commission's fee-for-service activities from APS agencies, which are expected to reduce their discretionary spending to meet further efficiency targets. Predicting demand for the Commission's fee-for-service activities has been an ongoing challenge, as it fluctuates due to factors beyond the Commission's control.
The Commission is proactively managing these funding challenges to ensure it delivers a balanced financial result and is in a sustainable financial position for future years.
Administered payments for the parliamentarians' and judicial office holders' remuneration and entitlements program are expected to increase by $1.2 million to $62.0 million for 2014–15, as a result of the regular annual review of remuneration.